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Chapter 3

This webpage reproduces a chapter of
The Life of Miranda

by
William Spence Robertson

The University of North Carolina Press
1929

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!

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Chapter 5

Vol. I
p59
Chapter IV

Adventures in Europe

On board the Neptune, which carried a few other passengers and some sixty thousand guineas in specie, on December 15, 1784, Francisco de Miranda sailed from Boston. The voyager took note of the winds, the weather, and the course of the ship. His companions were in good humor, each whiling away his time according to his fancy. At his leisure Miranda read works on history and philosophy. He noticed that during the night of January 21 the mariners discerned the warning rays of a lighthouse on the Scilly Isles. After skirting the southern coast of England, where the passengers gazed at the famous chalk cliffs, on the afternoon of January 31 the ship cast anchor in the river Thames. A day later Miranda rode through London in a hackney coach to a hotel in Pall Mall.

The metropolis of the country that he had long admired from afar was soon delineated by Colonel Miranda as an immense capital. He wrote to General Knox that he was much impressed by the infinite number of objects and the multitude of people that he had seen. He sent the general a grammar and a dictionary, presumably of the Spanish language. With the intention of presenting a complaint about the persecution to which he had been subjected in the West Indies, the colonel visited the Spanish legation but the Minister was absent. Anxious to become informed about the activities of the recreant officer, Bernardo del Campo soon returned the call, but Miranda was not at home. Yet through divers hirelings Campo undertook to spy upon Miranda's movements; and he soon began a series of reports to Madrid about the conspirator.

In an undated dispatch the Spanish Minister warned his court that through letters of introduction Miranda had become acquainted with many Englishmen and that he made no secret of his grievances against Spain. Campo's informers expressed the opinion that the suspect had "much talent, great discernment, and more than ordinary intelligence," but that  p60 he was a fanatical champion of liberty. The Minister declared that Miranda possessed plans of Spanish strongholds in America and that he had actually displayed to certain persons a plan of the Habana fortifications. "I am assured," wrote Campo, "that he has in his possession other manuscripts of the greatest importance. Among these papers are instructive memoirs concerning the actual condition of various provinces in the Spanish Indies, projects relating to campaigns in the American Revolution, the correspondence of our court with its commanders by land and sea, as well as the correspondence of those officers with each other and with French commanders." Campo was startled by reports that Miranda proposed to submit copies of important documents to the English Government and was convinced that his quarry was capable of promoting zealously "any audacious project" which might be proposed by Spain's enemies. "The master stroke," said the intriguing Spaniard, "would be to burn Miranda's manuscripts or to steal them" before he could use them "in an evil manner."1

On April 26 Colonel Miranda made another visit to the Spanish legation and left a packet of papers with a request that Campo would forward it to Madrid. Among these documents was a letter for Count Floridablanca dated April 10, 1785, declaring that because of the royal confidence which this Minister enjoyed, Miranda had addressed a petition to him in order that it might be presented to the King. In reality this petition was an autobiographical sketch that emphasized the colonel's military service. The persecution to which he had been subjected in the West Indies was ascribed to the covert influence of jealous enemies. The officer alleged that Cagigal, whom he believed to be incarcerated in a Spanish dungeon, had had no share in his escape from Habana. With indignation Miranda avowed that the accusations against him were false and that he had labored under the disadvantage of being  p61 a creole. He besought Charles III formally to dismiss him from the royal service and to reimburse the price of his captaincy.2

In view of the designs that Miranda secretly entertained in regard to the liberation of the Indies, it seems likely that one purpose of his petition was to deceive Spain about his real intentions. Another motive that probably animated him was his urgent need of money. This interpretation is borne out by his correspondence with Francisco Arrieta. In a letter dated May 12 Miranda informed Arrieta that unfortunately he had not received certain funds which had been remitted from Habana to pay the expense of his travel. Hence he besought his compatriot to send him two thousand pesos in order that he might reimburse those friends who had relieved his financial distress.3

Bernardo del Campo still sympathized with Miranda, for he invited him to dinner at the legation. Count Floridablanca soon warned Campo, however, that Miranda's chief aim was to upbraid or defame those persons against whom he held a grudge.4 There is no doubt that, at the instance of Floridablanca, Campo would have made a formal demand upon England for the fugitive colonel if her law and custom had held any promise of success.5 To aid Campo in his dealings with that officer, in May and July, 1785, Floridablanca transmitted tentative replies which were obviously intended to delude Miranda, for the Minister stated that he had been unable properly to consider his petition.6

In an epistle addressed to Arrieta on June 20, 1785, Miranda said that nothing new had occurred in his relations with  p62 Spain. He suggested that correspondence with himself might be secretly carried on through a party in San Sebastián. At this turn in his affairs Miranda renewed his acquaintance with John Turnbull, the prosperous English merchant whom he had met in Spain. Further, as a collection of visiting cards covering five folio pages in his contemporary memoranda shows, Miranda now met other interesting people. Among the persons who evidently called on him were the following: Count Andreani, Messrs. Barré, Bentham, and Fitzherbert, Major Jardine, Sir James Johnstone, and General Rainsford.7

According to the Spanish Minister, the recreant officer met Lords Howe and Sidney, Henry Pelton, M. P., and a former lord of the admiralty.8 In a letter to Floridablanca dated August 6, 1785, Campo declared that Miranda was becoming intimate with English military officers but that he was in a vacillating mood and that at times he seemed to desire restoration to royal favor. His humor and activities are suggested by the following passage from a letter: "At present philosophy, government, academies of science, sessions of Parliament, and the society of statesmen and of learned men occupy all of my time with much profit and to some extent mitigate the pain of stern adversity."9

Still, there is no doubt that to certain Englishmen the distracted Spanish subject aired his views about America. In the summer of 1785 the Political Herald and Review stated that the flames of revolution had spread from the United States into the Spanish Indies and that an aspiring champion of its freedom had reached England. Among his cherished papers Miranda later filed a copy of this flattering portrait:

"In London, we are well assured, there is at this moment a Spanish American of great consequence, and possessed of the confidence of his fellow-citizens, who aspires to the glory of being the deliverer of his country. He is a man of sublime  p63 views and penetrating understanding, skilled in the antientº and modern languages, conversant in books, and acquainted with the world. He has devoted many years to the study of general politics; the origin, the progress, and the termination of the different species of governments; the circumstances that combine and retain multitudes of mankind in political societies; and the causes by which these societies are dissolved and swallowed up by others. This gentleman, having visited every province in North America, came to England, which he regards as the mother country of liberty, and the school for political knowledge. As friends to freedom, we forebear to be more particular concerning this distinguished character. * * * We admire his talents, esteem his virtues, and heartily wish prosperity to the noblest pursuit that can occupy the powers of any mortal, that of bestowing the blessings of freedom on millions of his fellow‑men."10

A comprehensive interpretation of Miranda's attitude toward the Spanish Indies at this time is furnished by a memorandum that he composed seven years later. After mentioning the ambitious project that he had formed for Spanish-American liberation while in the United States, he added: "With this object I proceeded to England early in 1785, but the embarrassment and disgust that prevailed there because of the loss of the Thirteen Colonies and the heavy expenses of the Revolutionary War did not promise an opportunity for the presentation of a design of such magnitude. Accordingly I resolved to occupy myself temporarily by an attentive examination of various governments and political systems of Europe."11

In the English metropolis the Venezuelan renewed his acquaintance with the American, Colonel W. S. Smith, who on July 4, 1785, left a card at Miranda's lodgings declaring that he wished "to pay his respects to Col. de Miranda as a friend to the rights of mankind and the Happiness of Society."12  p64 Smith was now acting as secretary to his father-in‑law, John Adams, United States minister to London. Miranda soon fixed his eyes upon that secretary as a congestion companion for a continental journey. His feelings were reciprocated; and on August 4, 1785, Colonel Smith asked Minister Adams for leave to make "a small tour on the Continent."13 The permission was soon granted; and on August 9, after Miranda had secured through Turnbull a letter of credit on Amsterdam and had placed his cherished papers in the custody of James Penman, an English merchant whom he had met in Charleston, he departed in Smith's company en route for Harwich. On August 10 the voyagers crossed the English Channel on a packet boat to Hellevoetsluis.14 Miranda carried with him a letter of introduction from Bernardo del Campo to Spain's Minister in Prussia. However, this epistle was offset by a cipher dispatch that Campo sent to the Spanish legation at Berlin. Further, Vergennes was incited to issue orders for the detention of the fugitive, if he should venture to cross the northern frontier of France.15

[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders portrait in oils, three-quarters left, of a middle-aged man in early‑19c dress, of which only the ruffled shirt stands out (his jacket or coat merging into the neutral background of the painting). He has an alert but kind expression; he is William S. Smith, an English military officer.]

Colonel William S. Smith. Portrait by Gilbert Stuart. Reproduced by courtesy of Mr. Herbert L. Pratt.

On August 22 the two friends arrived at Rotterdam. There they admired the statue of Erasmus and surveyed the yachts in the harbor. They also inspected the India House. After visiting points of interest at The Hague, Leyden, and Haarlem, they proceeded to Amsterdam. While in that city they viewed the theatre, the arsenal, and the stadthaus.º To a friend Miranda wrote that Holland impressed him as a "singular and most curious country."16

The tourists then journeyed to Prussia, the ambitious, militaristic country that Miranda had long desired to see. After visiting the site of the battle of Minden, on August 29 they reached Potsdam. On the next day they made a trip to the Palace of Sans Souci; in the King's apartments they saw "a  p65 reading desk upon which lay open" a volume on the art of war.17 At Berlin on September 3 they addressed letters to King Frederick William I to ask permission to attend a review of his soldiers which had attracted some distinguished visitors. This request was politely granted; and on September 5 the two colonels attended a military parade.18

Two days later they witnessed the "very elegant" maneuvers of Prussian gendarmes and hussars where, in Smith's words, every officer and soldier seemed "to understand his duty perfectly." Next they beheld four thousand men maneuvering "in a most masterly manner" under the command of General Möllendorf. While watching the evolutions on southeast they met the Chevalier Duportail who was wearing the Cross of St. Louis and the Eagle of the Society of the Cincinnati. After attending a review in which the King commanding the infantry against the cavalry displayed "very great" military ability, the adventurous travelers visited an old, deformed, Jewish philosopher. In his journal Smith wrote that "Miranda soon took up his text and preached liberty and independence with as much zeal as ever the King of the Jews established his religious system — the Israelite contended and insisted that it was ideal and foolish."19

After visiting the Prussian military academy, on September 19 the Americans returned to Potsdam. On the wide margin of Smith's journal Miranda indignantly scrawled a note to the effect that certain English officers had stigmatized them as "rebels." On September 20 they dined by invitation in the royal palace. "The dinner," recorded Miranda in another marginal note, "was very ordinary, but the wines were good, and the pages and servants were richly dressed. A Swiss colonel," he continued, "gave me much information about the Prussian army." On the next day the two friends attended some military maneuvers in which the attack was directed by General Möllendorf and the defense was managed by Prince Frederick of Brunswick. While viewing those evolutions Miranda  p66 had a chat with Marquis Lafayette who apparently offered him his services in case he should visit Paris. "He asked me," said Miranda, "if I did not expect an uprising in South America, and declared that he would much like to promote its liberty. I responded with gravity that I knew nothing about that topic. Thus the conversation ended and we separated." As he much disliked the Marquis and even suspected him of ulterior motives, the dissembling South American thwarted Lafayette's attempt to sound his secret designs.20

[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders portrait in mezzotint, in profile, of a middle-aged man in a late‑18c military uniform, with a high collar and a prominent epaulet. His forehead is high and slopes back strongly; his nose is long an thin, and he wears a satisfied expression; he is the Marquis de Lafayette.]

Marquis de Lafayette, as a General of the Old Régime. Lavachez mezzotint. Reproduced by courtesy of Goodspeed's Book Shop, Boston, Massachusetts.

Soon afterwards the travelers left Prussia for Saxony. On October 2 they went to Maxen to view the battle field where in 1759 an engagement was fought between the Austrians and the Prussians. Two days later they surveyed the field where those rivals fought a battle in 1745. "Miranda," wrote Smith in his lively journal, "seems very fond to give every favorable impression relative to America — he is much attached to its happiness and dignity."21

Near Lobositz on the river Elbe the travelers reconnoitered the field where on October 1, 1756, an important battle was fought between the Austrians and the Prussians. From Luis de Onis, the Spanish chargé at Dresden, on October 3, 1785, Francisco de Miranda, who was described as a "lieutenant colonel in the service of His Catholic Majesty," secured a passport for a journey to Vienna.22 After mentioning a visit that he and Miranda made to the theatre, in an entry in his journal dated Prague, October 9, Smith revealed another side of his companion's character when he recorded that they "went to a brothel, but its appearance was so vulgar I retired — Miranda stayed."23

In the imperial library of Vienna, Miranda and Smith gazed upon the first letter of the conquistador, Hernando Cortés, to Charles V. They soon visited the palace of Emperor Joseph II, viewed the university that had been constructed by Maria  p67 Theresa, and inspected the wonderful collection of armor in the arsenal. While attending a performance in the theatre they beheld the Emperor attired in green and red, the uniform of his regiment. In his name, on October 24, 1785, an Austrian official issued a passport to Miranda who was described as a Spanish cavalier en route to Constantinople.24 A receipt dated two days later shows that to finance this trip Smith had advanced him two hundred and thirty pounds.25 At Vienna, on October 26, the friends parted company: the American to proceed to London via Paris; and the Venezuelan to journey to Constantinople. In his pocket Smith carried a letter from Miranda to Campo which stated that he intended to travel in Hungary.26

On his trip through that country Miranda paid a visit to the musician, Joseph Haydn, who was serving as capellmeister to Prince Nicolaus of Esterhazy. Haydn showed the traveler the garden and the picture gallery of the wonderful Esterházy palace. Miranda beheld the famous master directing an orchestra in the Marionette Theatre. After conversing about great musicians with the Austrian composer, — at least so he declared in his diary, which took up the narrative at this point, — Miranda made a tour of Austria-Hungary. As he learned at Trieste that there was no vessel which would soon leave this port for Smyrna and Constantinople, he resolved to visit Greece and Italy.

Upon disembarking at Venice on November 12 Miranda was much impressed with its unique and fascinating site. "So many handsome and haughty buildings that seemed to rise out of the water," he wrote, "the charming canals, with the adjacent islands," — all "formed a great and most beautiful picture."27 Yet even before he reached an inn near the Bridge of  p68 Rialto, some of his vivid impressions had faded away. Among other sights he visited the ducal palace and beheld the Senate in session. In the proceedings of the Doge and his Council Miranda thought that he discerned a "disguised despotism." On November 19, evidently by request, a Venetian acquaintance named Arteaga brought him "a list of the Spanish-American ex‑Jesuits whose names he could recollect that were then residing at Bologna."28

Soon afterwards Miranda embarked in a gondola bound for Verona. After visiting that city he proceeded to Bologna, via Mantua, Parma, and Modena. In his diary he noted that in the Spanish College of the University of Bologna he saw "portraits of bishops, inquisitors, and other barbarians belonging to the nation that had distinguished herself by her fanaticism," which was doubtless an allusion to Spain.29 Upon reaching Florence, he promptly proceeded to the Pitti Palace where he was dazzled by the pictures of Italian masters. Among his favorite paintings were Raphael's "St. John," Titian's "Venus," and Del Sarto's "Endymion." Much did he admire the series of portraits of eminent artists. After viewing the library of the Medici family, he took the road leading to Pisa.

Francisco de Miranda reached Rome on January 25, 1786. As he had some books in his luggage, he had to obtain the permission of a familiar of the Inquisition before he could pass through the city gate. In his diary under date of January 29 he thus inscribed his impressions of the celebrated Basilica of St. John Lateran: "The interior is so crowded with columns, statues, gilded figures, paintings, stuccoes, and chapels that one finds confusion without either enjoyment or design, although there are many pieces which are in every particular excellent! This is a defect that exists more or less in all the churches of Rome, not even excepting the Basilica of St. Peter."30

 p69  On the next day he went to the church of San Pietro in Vincoli where he much admired the majestic statue of Moses by Michelangelo. The diarist's opinion was that of all the buildings of the city the most admirable impression was produced by the Colosseum. He attended divine service in the Sistine Chapel in order that he might see the bishops, the cardinals, and the Pope celebrate mass. He climbed the historic mount "where Romulus laid the first foundations of Rome."31 Unlike that other famous son of Caracas, Simón Bolívar, who visited the Aventine Mount twenty years later, Miranda did not find there an inspiration to dedicate his life to the Herculean task of South American emancipation.a

Though his invaluable journal left unmentioned a topic that lay very near his heart, yet documents which Miranda secretly filed among papers concerning his European travels prove that he had not relinquished the plan of liberating his native land. On the eve of his departure from the Eternal City he secured a roll of those ex‑Jesuits residing in Italy who in 1767 had been expelled from the Spanish Indies. At the end of the list was inscribed the name of an embittered Peruvian exile called Viscardo whose fate was to be strangely interlinked with Miranda's.32

Under date of February 24, 1786, Miranda wrote in his diary that, having seen both ancient and modern Rome, he had decided to travel south. Among points of interest that he soon visited were Capua, Virgil's tomb, the Bay of Naples, and the ruins of Pompeii. On March 20 he sailed from Barletta for Ragusa, the city-republic. During the second week in June he ruminated upon the tribulations of Greece under Turkish rule. At Corinth he admired Grecian scenery from an eminence upon which the Moslem castle was placed. He amazed its commandant  p70 with tales of his travels. On June 17 he disembarked at Piraeus, and then rode on horseback past ancient sepulchres and city walls to Athens. In his journal Miranda wrote that he had to bribe the Turkish commandant to secure permission to view the Acropolis. Among other scenes of interest he visited the Parthenon, the Arch of Hadrian, and the ruins of the temples of Augustus and Jupiter. Entries in his diary indicate that before sailing from Athens for Smyrna he also surveyed the tombs of Cimon and Themistocles and enjoyed the exquisite flavor of the honey of Mount Hymettus. He did not omit to make a pilgrimage to the historic plains of Marathon.33

Miranda later asserted that, after viewing the Grecian Archipelago, he also visited Egypt.34 While his vessel sailed past Asia Minor, with a telescope in hand, — so runs his journal, — the voyager sought in vain to catch a glimpse of the ruins that were Troy. On July 30 he came in sight of the Golden Horn. His first view of Constantinople incited him to compose the following passage in his diary: "Impressive were the beauty and spaciousness of the harbor, the multitude of gondolas constantly plying from one part to another of Europe or Asia, and the gardens and seraglio of the Sultan as well as his kiosks which were located along the margin of the sea. Yet all this magnificence vanished and a singular contrast was furnished when we entered the streets of the city."35

An embarrassing personal encounter between Spain's Minister at Constantinople and Miranda was later used by the Spanish Government to deride him.36 In typical Spanish fashion he facilitated his visit to the famous Turkish mosque by slipping six piasters into an attendant's palm. "There is no denying,"  p71 said Miranda Chickamauga with his journal, "that St. Sophia is a daring architectural design."37 With characteristic audacity, he tried to penetrate into the interior of the Sultan's palace but was soon halted by Janizaries. Desirous to behold some Circassian maidens, he lingered near the entrance of the slave market only to learn to his deep chagrin that a Giaour might not even catch a glimpse of their beauty. He peeped into an opium joint. He also inspected certain plans of the Crimea. In his diary he inscribed some severe strictures on Turkish artillery practice. Early in September he crossed the Hellespont to Scutari. Among the scenes on the shores of Asia Minor that he particularly enjoyed was the beautiful view afforded from the Tower of Leander.38

Equipped with a passport from the Austrian Minister at Constantinople dated September 22, "Count Miranda," as he was now styled, embarked on a vessel bound for Russia.39 On being released from quarantine on the Dnieper River, he proceeded to Kherson. There he paid a visit to the mansion that was destined for the conqueror of the Crimean Peninsula, Gregory Potemkin, who had become Prince of Tauris. When that one‑eyed Prince arrived at Kherson, wrote Miranda, all the citizens paid court to the favorite idol. On December 31, 1786, according to Miranda's diary, he was escorted to Potemkin's residence where he met the honorary favorite of Empress Catherine II. Potemkin, who was the chief minister and military commander of Russia, asked Miranda about the Spanish Indies. So strong a fancy did the Russian Cyclops take to Miranda that he invited him to visit the Crimea. The Prince was adorning that peninsula in preparation for a visit by his august mistress, Catherine II, who was making a triumphal tour of the southern part of her empire. Miranda recorded in his journal that in January, 1787, in the favorite's company, he traversed the Russian steppes and inspected Inkerman and Sebastopol.40

 p72  Prince Potemkin evidently told him that it would be unpardonable if he did not aim to meet Catherine II. Hence the impecunious traveler secured a suit of blue cloth, girded a sword, and proceeded to Kieff. There he soon met various diplomats who were in the imperial train. Among them were the nominal Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prince Bezborodko; the Austrian Minister, Count Cobentzel; the English Ambassador, Alleyne Fitzherbert; and the French Minister, Count Ségur. He was presented to the reigning favorite of the moment, Count Alexander Mamonov, who received him kindly. Miranda visited a chapel in order that he might see the Czarina attend a mass celebrated according to the Greek rites.

A most remarkable monarch of a remarkable age, the Great Catherine was at this time fifty-eight years of age. Though foreign visitors to her domains declared that the Empress was short and fat, yet they praised her commanding presence and her handsome face which was admirably framed in white hair. On or about February 25, 1787 (new style), Miranda was presented to Catherine II who graciously offered him her hand to kiss. In his diary he wrote that the Czarina soon entered into conversation with him, and that, after he had dined at her table, she asked him about the Spanish Indies. Among the questions that Miranda made note of was the query "if it were possible that the Inquisition still existed there?"41

[image ALT: A head-and‑shoulders portrait of an old woman, three-quarters right, with luxuriant slightly wavy hair, and a benign but no-nonsense expression. She wears rich silks, with a wide sash from her right shoulder, and a soft lace ruff that completely hides her neck; a low cloth bonnet or cap rides far back on her head. She is the Russian empress Catherine the Great.]

Empress Catherine II. Portrait by an unknown artist. Lithograph by A. Grevedore. In the collection of the British Museum, London.

He soon met her again at court functions. During a dinner at the lodgings of Countess Branicki the Empress inquired about his travels. Miranda recorded in his diary that when a rumor reached her that he contemplated making the long trip to Moscow, Prince Potemkin informed him that Her Majesty would not permit him to depart from Kieff at that season, for the passage of rivers was considered perilous. The diarist avowed that "this act of her good heart" had made "such an impression of tenderness and gratitude" on him that  p73 he "would never forget it!"42

At a reception Miranda evidently became engaged in another conversation with the Czarina, for he wrote thus in his diary: "Her Majesty asked me various questions about Spanish America. In particular she inquired about the Jesuits and the aborigines, and told me that, alleging that it was a state secret, the Spanish court had refused to furnish this information for a dictionary of languages which she wished to publish." Apparently the Empress also questioned Miranda about the antiquities of Greece and Italy. "From this," said he, "we proceeded to discuss the condition of the arts in Spain, the celebrated paintings in Spanish palaces, the autos‑de‑fe, and the antiquities of Granada." Miranda took note that Catherine wished to learn whether or not the Prince of Asturias was a youth of promise. "At last she mentioned our expedition under O'Reilly against Algiers and asked if it were not true that much less than one‑half of the attacking party had escaped. I responded that this was an exaggeration, for I believed that we had lost only one‑fifth of our soldiers."b Miranda's private estimate of Catherine II was preserved in his diarial entry that this extensive conversation displayed to him "her goodness of heart, humanity, intelligence, and noble sentiments."43

The imperial entourage evidently felt that he was rapidly winning his way into the good graces of the temperamental Empress. In his diary the egotistic creole noted that Count Ségur considered his reception flattering and styled him "the great courtier." Miranda further noticed that when at a subsequent conversation with Catherine II he stated that Robertson's History of America was prohibited from circulating in the Spanish dominions, she exclaimed that for such an insult the entire Spanish Academy ought to be consigned to the Inquisition!44

Through the good offices of Prince Potemkin, Miranda was  p74 given an opportunity to meet the puppet-King of Poland who was journeying near the frontier.45 Hence in the company of a Russian general the South American took a coach for Canoff. There he was presented to Catherine's quondam favorite, King Stanislaus II; at a dinner, he tells us, his companion was seated at the King's right hand, while he was placed at his left. Miranda also recorded in his diary that the handsome, royal protégé of Catherine II questioned him about Spain and the Indies. While other members of the party were playing whist, the King pursued his quest and asked "if there had actually been uprisings in South America."46

Shortly after Miranda returned to Kieff he became aware that Catherine II regarded him with no small favor. Her chamberlain suggested to him that he ought never to return to the Spanish dominions but should instead reside in Russia. After mentioning a game of whist played while he was at the quarters of Count Branicki, Miranda's journal runs thus:

"When the game was over Mamonov beckoned me aside and said that the Czarina had instructed him to tell me that I should remain with them, for she feared that the people in my country would not treat me well. I responded that certainly there was no one who loved the Empress more than I did, nor was there anyone more appreciative of her royal kindness, but that my situation was such that a step of this nature was almost impossible. At last I said that I would tell him of these circumstances confidentially so that he could inform Her Majesty. Thus she might do whatever should appear to her to be just."47

Prince Potemkin apparently informed Miranda that, when the Empress heard that he might fall a victim to the Inquisition if he returned to his native land, she "talked about his person with the tenderness of a mother." Although the design concerning Spanish America that Miranda now cherished evidently  p75 caused him to decline an enticing offer to enter the Russian service, yet Count Mamonov informed him that his royal Mistress would give him "her imperial protection in all parts of the world." Miranda then suggested that "to promote the execution of his enterprise a letter of credit amounting to ten thousand roubles would be very acceptable for use in case of need."48 It would seem that he audaciously broached his revolutionary ideas to the Czarina. In an article which he helped to prepare for the press many years later the statement was made that he disclosed his views concerning his native land to Catherine II who "manifested the strongest interest in the accomplishment of his scheme, and assured him, in case of his success, she would be the foremost to support the independence of South America."49

Normandes, the Spanish minister to Russia, wrote to Madrid and declared that Miranda was in higher favor with Potemkin and the Empress than any other foreigner at the Russian court.50 Miranda then traveled several hundred versts across bleak steppes to the old Russian capital. At first sight, because of "the mixture of palaces, gardens, and hovels," he compared Moscow to Constantinople. He soon visited the arsenal where he beheld with interest the muskets, swords, scimitars, and oriental trappings that had been used by Muscovite soldiers; he also viewed the military academy and the military hospital. A new imperial palace which was being constructed attracted his attention. In the cathedral he was not only shown the miters adorned with pearls and diamonds, and a colossal icon of the Virgin Mary, but also the sacred relics. In the grand palace he much admired a picture of the battle of Pultowa. Admitted to view the Muscovite archives, he wrote in his diary that this repository contained six thousand volumes of inedited documents concerning Russian history. On June 19 Miranda left Moscow bound for St. Petersburg via  p76 Novgorod; six days later he reached the capital on the banks of the Neva.51

He sojourned about three months at St. Petersburg. Through letters of introduction he became acquainted with many persons of distinction. He stated in his journal that in the library of the Academy of Science he was permitted to examine Catherine's draft of a code of laws for Russia. After viewing the defenses of Kronstadt, he wrote with enthusiasm in his diary: "Here is where the colossal statue of Peter I should be erected." He soon was drawn into a series of dinners and receptions in the capital city that perhaps surpassed any which he had yet enjoyed. Among the imperial residences that he inspected were the pleasant Palace of Tzarskoïe-Sielo, the so‑called Hermitage, and the magnificent Winter Palace. In the meantime the Czarina had returned to the capital where Miranda apparently had an audience with her.52 There is no doubt that the Spanish legation at St. Petersburg was disturbed because of Miranda's advent. As early as March 28, 1786, Campo had sent a cipher dispatch to the Spanish Minister in Russia advising him circumspectly to observe the actions of Miranda if he arrived there and instructing him that, if he learned that this "partisan of independence" intended to visit France, he should at once secretly inform the Court of Madrid and the Spanish Minister at Paris.53

This warning may have unduly stimulated the vigilance of Spain's agents. In any case, a difficulty soon arose between Count Miranda and Pedro Macanaz, the Spanish chargé d'affaires. Perhaps it was under the influence of the French Minister that, in July, 1787, Macanaz wrote a curt note to Miranda to ask whether he had the right to use the title "Count" or to wear the Spanish uniform. In reply the so‑called Count,  p77 who felt sure of protection from the Russian Court, haughtily declared that if the inquiry had been made in a decent manner he would not have lacked the means to satisfy vanity or incredulity. Further, Miranda intimated that Macanaz's inquiry had been made in a despicable manner and that he would not deign to justify himself.54 To quote from his journal again:

"Count Bezborodko invited me to his house on the following Saturday. He told me that the chargé d'affaires of Spain had called to complain of a letter which I had written and to ask for my person. The chargé declared that I had left the Spanish service and stated that the Spaniards considered me as a person who was most dangerous to their empire. Bezborodko replied that Russia had no cartel with Spain and that the request was not justified. Then Macanaz responded that he considered the Spanish Empire imperilled, that Spain and Russia were good friends, and that Russia should condescend to grant his demand. Bezborodko referred this message to the Empress who evidently replied that if the Spanish Empire were in peril there was no region where I might better sojourn than in Russia, for this country was at a great distance from Spain. Further, that the esteem in which Catherine II held me was not because of my rank in the Spanish service but because of personal qualities well known to Her Majesty through which I had gained her protection."55

In his diary Miranda even alleged that on a certain occasion when Catherine was on her way to mass she secretly whispered to him that she would protect him from Spanish intrigue.56 Early in August he recorded that Macanaz had repeated the request that he should be delivered up to the Spaniards, but that Bezborodko had given the same reply which he had in July, namely, "that Her Majesty had accorded me her protection, and that the esteem in which she held me was personal and not because of my rank or titles. Further, he said to me that this very morning the Czarina had ordered  p78 that I should be given very emphatic letters with strong recommendations for all her ministers in foreign countries which would justify me and require them to aid me in her name, that if I needed anything more I should let her know, that if I returned to Russia I would be very well received, and that if I thought of residing there she would with much pleasure give me an advantageous position.57

In a flattering letter to the fugitive colonel, Count Bezborodko now informed him that, convinced of "your zeal for her service and disposed to receive you whenever you find it convenient, Her Imperial Majesty permits you to wear the uniform of her armies."58 Miranda was now furnished with a circular letter to the Russian ministers at Vienna, Paris, London, The Hague, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Berlin, and Naples that directed them, in case of need to furnish the bearer with imperial aid and protection. He was also intrusted with a secret letter from Count Bezborodko to the Russian ministers at Berlin, Naples, and Vienna that reads as follows:

"Count de Miranda, a colonel in the service of His Catholic Majesty, having arrived at Kieff during the sojourn that the Empress made there, has had the honor of being presented to Her Imperial Majesty and of pleasing her by his merits and distinguished qualities. Among other things he has gained the favor of our August Sovereign by the knowledge that he has acquired through his travels in different quarters of the globe. Her Imperial Majesty, wishing to give M. de Miranda a signal proof of her esteem and of the special interest that she takes in him, instructs you, Sir, whenever the present letter reaches your hands, to receive this officer in a manner worthy of the reception which she has given him, to show him every care and attention, and to grant him your assistance and protection whenever he needs or wishes them. Lastly, in case of necessity you are to offer him your legation as an asylum. In recommending this colonel to you in so distinguished a fashion the Empress has wished to show you to what extent she likes the merit which she has found in him and to indicate that an  p79 inextinguishable claim of one who aspires to her bounty and protection is that of possessing as much merit as Count de Miranda."59

After the Spanish Minister Normandes arrived at St. Petersburg the intrigues against the "criminal of state" seemed to decline. In a dispatch dated August 9, 1787, Count Cobentzel reported to Vienna that Miranda was living on a footing of agreeable intimacy with foreign diplomats as well as with the Russian court. "He is a man with a haughty disposition and vast knowledge," said Cobentzel, "who speaks very freely about everything but particularly denounces the Inquisition, the government of Spain, the King, and the Prince of Asturias. He makes many offensive allusions to Spanish ignorance."60

At this juncture Count Bezborodko emphatically warned Miranda to beware of the Spaniards, and sent him a letter of credit on the Czarina's English banker for two thousand ducats.61 The beneficiary made note that he had asked for ten thousand roubles, and that when he complained and declared that he needed in all two thousand pounds, the Count assured him that he would be given as much gold as he desired.62 Further, he was apparently granted the right to wear the uniform of colonel in a regiment commanded by Prince Potemkin. On the eve of his departure from the capital Miranda addressed a politic letter to the Czarina; he thanked her for the many kindnesses that she had accorded him, and declared that he was deeply attached to her: "Nothing but a great and interesting object like that which actually occupies me could induce me to postpone the agreeable and sweet pleasure of acquitting myself through service of the debt that I owe to your benevolence, and of partaking with your subjects the previous  p80 and inestimable advantages which society enjoys under your illustrious and glorious rule. * * * The additional letter of credit that you have kindly wished to grant me will be judiciously used in case of need."63

Three days later Miranda formally acknowledged the receipt from the Russian Government of letters of credit that amounted to two thousand pounds.64 The dilemma that had confronted the imperial ministers was aptly described by Count Ségur: "They dare not speak against the traveler to the Empress who protects him, and who persists in the belief that he is innocent and oppressed."65 In his memoirs that Minister thus expressed his opinion of Miranda: "He is a well-informed man, ingenious, intriguing, and audacious."66 Though the errant Venezuelan won the favor of the modern Messalina, yet no evidence has been found to prove that he became one of those notorious favorites whom she showered with princely gifts. Neither does he describe her as a disgusting old woman. On the other hand, Bezborodko later wrote to Potemkin that with regard to Miranda, it was only a matter of money: "Your Excellency must remember that he demanded 10,000 roubles but that we granted him 1,000 roubles in gold."67

Other viewpoints upon the sojourn of Miranda at the Russian court are furnished by the following extracts from a letter written from St. Petersburg by his intimate friend, the learned Dr. Guthrie, a British surgeon in the Russian service, to Dr. Duncan of Edinburgh:

Permit me to introduce to your acquaintance a most liberal and enlightened Traveler from a part of the Globe where you would least expect, a Mexican nobleman who in spite of every gothick barrier to knowledge which the Hollyº tribunal can invent has found secret means to come at it and now travels for additional instruction. Altho it is difficult to discover in  p81 what branch of ancient or modern learning he is deficient, Count Miranda intends finishing with Edinburgh a tour of Europe, North and South America with a part of Africa and I believe few men have made it to better purpose * * *

"He came into the Empire by the way of Cherson from Constantinople and after surveying the Crimea with Prince Potemkin our first Minister joined our Empress on her famous journey. This discerning lady soon distinguished the Count from the large group of foreign nobility which the pleasure of seeing her had drawn to Kiowº and the marked distinctions she paid him does equal honor to both — I am only sorry that all the attention of the North cannot engage him to stay with us * * * I think the state of the Count more critical as learning has raised him above that mean and dark policy which has so long hid the finest part of the New from the penetrating eyes of the Old World insomuch that he answers the Historian, the philosopher or naturalist all such questions as can throw light on their respective researches — this has struck even crowned heads in the same point of view, for our Great Lady has been joking with him about the flames of the inquisition and even invited him to stay in Russia, an honor she seldom confers on any officer however distinguished.

"The King of Poland had the same idea of making his acquaintance on the late journey and made him similar offers, in short it appears that all lovers and protectors of letters take an interest in the first thoroughly instructed South American who has appeared in Europe. * * * I beg you to present him to your learned friends and procure him an opportunity of hearing the medical and other societies assembled so as to enable him to judge of the progress of the swarm of bright students who are constantly to be found in Edinburgh ever since the university and other chairs have been filled with illustrious teachers — these are the treats he is in search of — not the pagentry of courts and distinctions of ranks which he has avoided as much as decency would permit for the pursuit of his grand object for which he appears to have an insatiable thirst."68

Upon his arrival at the Swedish capital Miranda decided  p82 to remain incognito. There is no doubt that he was hospitably received by the Russian Minister, Count Razoumowsky.69 On October 12, 1787, the Spanish Minister at Stockholm addressed a dispatch to Floridablanca to state that their quarry was in that city, and that he was lodging at the Russian legation under an assumed name.70 While in Sweden the South American engaged a servant named Andrew Fröberg who served him faithfully for several years. In view of allegations which have been made that Miranda eventually joined the Masonic Order, it should be noticed that among other places of interest in Sweden he inspected a foundling hospital that was supported by the Masons. During a visit to Drottningholm Palace, Miranda saw the King dining in public with his family in the company of foreign ambassadors. Miranda's incognito was pierced by a Swedish diplomat named Baron Cederstrom whom he had met in Russia. This Baron secretly presented him to King Gustavus III, who was piqued with curiosity, and who conversed with him about his European travels. "His Majesty," wrote Miranda in his diary, "said that a person like myself who had been so well received by Empress Catherine could not be less well received by him."71 Wrapped in a piece of paper that bears a fair lady's name there may also be found among Miranda's manuscripts a lock of hair that once adorned his Swedish inamorata.

It was doubtless by request that the Swedish Minister at St. Petersburg made a report to his government concerning the tourist. His verdict was that Miranda was "a man of rare genius, full of information, with much force and eloquence, but imprudent and violent in disposition, and with a surprising rudeness of manner which he displays on all occasions."72 At Stockholm on October 31, 1787, a Swedish official signed a passport for "Herr Ofrersten de Miranda."73 He soon  p83 crossed the frontier into Norway, and reached Christiania on November 10. In the company of a Mr. Anker, he visited its fortress and its Masonic temple. He stated in his journal that a fine Norwegian regiment which he inspected in its barracks was not well disciplined. With a passport secured from an official of the Kingdom of Denmark and Norway, on November 17 Miranda left Christiania. At Gothenburg he viewed a warehouse of a company that traded with the Indies. In Marstrand he visited a temple of the Masonic Order as well as the fortifications.74

A paragraph in his diary mentions the fact that Miranda reached Denmark in time to spend Christmas Day in Copenhagen. In that city he lodged with the Russian Minister, Baron Krüdener. Though the agents of Spain had apparently lost sight of him, yet he caught a glimpse of her envoy at the Danish court. After a round of sight-seeing he was startled one morning to read in a Dutch gazette the following news from Stockholm: "We learn that the Spanish Minister at this court has received by the last mail an order from Madrid to demand a certain Count Miranda, — a Spaniard by birth, but actually in the imperial service of Russia, — who came here some time ago from St. Petersburg, and to send him a prisoner to Spain because he has been unfaithful to his King and is even suspected of high treason. The said Count Miranda left here some time ago bound for Denmark." Whereupon the pseudo-count promptly wrote to Count Bezborodko and declared that such menaces would not cause him to relinquish his travels which were mainly intended to remove certain absurd prejudices resulting from his defective education.75 From Stockholm the Russian Minister wrote to Miranda to warn him that Spain's minions were anxious to lay hands on him and to suggest that he should sojourn only where there was a Russian legation.76 Under date of January 28, 1788, Miranda  p84 entered the following confession in his diary:

"I am reading Vattel's Droit des Gens to determine whether or not I have deluded myself in regard to my conduct. I have always wished to regulate it by natural law, which is justice and reason. In truth I do not know what motive impels Spain in her attempt to injure me in the modes that she has attempted. Neither do I know in which essentials I have fallen short. To look for them is to seek for that which it is impossible to find. Nevertheless I have seen with pleasure and consolation my rights defended with the rights of other men by such an able author."77

To certain Danes the suspect actually dropped hints of his secret. He borrowed from an acquaintance in Copenhagen some inedited manuscripts concerning the Spanish Indies. From these papers Miranda made copies of documents that dealt with recent rebellions against Spanish rule in Peru and New Granada.78 Count Bernstorff, Danish minister of foreign affairs, declared that Miranda was enthusiastic about the principles of liberty that had just triumphed in the English colonies of North America. The Minister of Finances, Count Schimmelmann, who frequently entertained Miranda at his home, said that "the chief themes of his conversation were always vengeance on Spain and the overthrow of her rule in America."79

In the end of February the South American left Copenhagen bearing letters of introduction from Bernstorff which showed that he was now masquerading under the name of M. de Meran. A most interesting portion of his journal deals with his sojourn at Schleswig where he arrived on March 22, 1788. At once he sent a letter of introduction from Count Bernstorff to Prince Charles of Hesse, who was a marshal in the Danish service. In consequence he soon dined by invitation at the Prince's table, became acquainted with his family, and was politely escorted through his palace. He admired the portraits of Swedish monarchs and Danish dignitaries that adorned  p85 its walls. In the evening he returned to the palace where a card party was in progress. As the Prince of Hesse was not engaged in the game, he started a conversation with Miranda about the Spanish Indies, during which the latter must have mentioned his secret aspirations.

"He asked me," Miranda mentioned with purposeful vagueness in his diary, "if I wished to know my horoscope and predicted that it would be fulfilled within eight or ten years without fail. I told him that he was certainly mistaken, for I desired only a hut in which I might pass the rest of my life." The Prince evidently repeated his prediction on the next day as another diarial passage indicates: "He said that England ought to undertake such an enterprise, that certainly there could be no cause more just, and that he would like with all his heart to embrace it. Though some of his reasons appeared plausible, I repeated my former statement regarding myself."80

These cautious allusions to the prognostication of the Prince of Hesse are to be interpreted in the light of a letter that Miranda sent from Hamburg to thank him for his kind attentions. "If the favorable prediction which the generous heart of Your Highness has made in respect to unhappy Colombia should ever be fulfilled, I shall not fail to send you the news."81 To this the Prince responded that he did not consider his prophecy as uncertain. "You will fulfill it some day, my dear Count, and that day is perhaps not very far distant: — It will indeed be glorious for you and happy for many unfortunate people and their posterity."82 Thus there is no reason to doubt that to the Prince of Hesse the conspirator had confided his ambitious design for the emancipation of the Spanish Indies, — a domain which henceforth he often designated as Colombia.

Miranda spent about three weeks in Hamburg. He then journeyed by way of Rothenburg, Bremen, and Groningen to Amsterdam. There he not only viewed Rembrandt's paintings in the city hall but also beheld some Spanish instruments of  p86 torture. About this time he received a friendly letter from Stephen Sayre who during a visit to Spain had seen Cagigal held as a prisoner. The American warned Miranda that the Spanish Government intended to wreak vengeance upon him.83 After spending a few days at Utrecht and The Hague he proceeded to Rotterdam. On June 12, 1788, bearing a passport made out by the Russian Minister to the Low Countries for "Mr. de Meroud, a Livonian gentleman," Miranda left Holland bound for Switzerland.84 Entries in his diary record that he viewed successively the castle of Liége, the Vauban fortress at Landau, the fortifications at Mannheim, and an artillery review at Strassburg.85

His zest for new scenes must have been hastened when he entered the Swiss Republic. After visiting Basel Miranda proceeded up the Rhine Valley; its rocks, cascades, and magnificent evergreens filled him with admiration. A highway near the Piedmont frontier reminded him of the picturesque road between his native city and La Guaira. In a diarial entry dated September 1 he asserted that he had viewed the very spot where the Swiss patriot, William Tell, shot the tyrannical Gessler. He next made a pilgrimage to the secluded valley where, according to tradition, the Confederation of the Swiss cantons of Uri, Schwitz,º and Unterwalden was formed. In his diary he also stated that he had secured a copy of the Act of Confederation of Switzerland. Lastly, he surveyed the field where the freemen of the primitive Republic had been wont to assemble.86

Early in September, 1788, Miranda reached Zurich. Through a letter of introduction he became acquitted with Johann K. Lavater, a divine and poet who was interested in physiognomy. The alert traveler made a vivid impression upon Lavater, who asked permission to add a sketch of his head to a collection of pictures. Under date of September 5  p87 Miranda wrote the following entry in his journal: "Lavater's artist came promptly at 7 o'clock, and in less than an hour and a half he almost completed the portrait."87

The only portrait extant of the precursor of Spanish-American independence in an early phase of his career was presumably drawn by Heinrich Lips von Kloten, an artist who drew many portraits for Lavater after 1772 and later became a professor at Weimar. This drawing depicts Miranda as a young dandy attired in a frilled shirt, a white waistcoat, and a coat of dark cloth. A forehead ample but slightly receding, luminous eyes, a prominent nose, a bold mouth, and a chin round and determined, — these were the most striking traits of a clean-shaven, handsome, and vivacious face. His physiognomy was admirably set off by artistically arranged and powdered hair which was worn long and fastened in a pigtail. With this crayon portrait before us we can more readily understand why Miranda occasionally depicted himself in his diary as one who was very popular with the ladies.

When Miranda departed, on southeast, 1788, Lavater presented him with a manuscript booklet entitled Souvenir pour des voiageurs cheris, 1787, that contained the following dedication "Here, my dear Mariat, is a mélange of thoughts for voyagers, which contains more that is true than is new. Whosoever travels learns that there is nothing that is absolutely old and nothing that is absolutely new under the sun."88 After leaving Zurich the tourist saw the alluring city of Interlaken, the glacier at Wetterhorn, Mont Blanc "in all its majesty," and the imposing glacier at Chamonix. In the agreeable company of a professor named Pictet, he traversed the streets of Geneva, and made an excursion to the château of Ferney where Voltaire had composed his vitriolic booklets on the Old Régime. Miranda's diary further informs us that from Geneva he rode on horseback to Neuchâtel, whence he made a trip to the village of Motiers that had once been the  p88 refuge of Jean Jacques Rousseau, author of the Social Contract.89

In the guise of a Livonian gentleman, Miranda also paid brief visits to towns and cities near the French Riviera. During his first sojourn in Marseilles, in December, 1788, he wrote in his diary that he had visited Abbé Raynal, who confessed that his information about the Indies emancipated from the Spanish Ambassador in Paris. Perhaps it was because Miranda landed at that port after an excursion to northern Italy that he outwitted the French police, who, at the instigation of the Spanish Government, had long since laid a snare to catch him if he ventured to enter northern France. Smith's warning that he would be in imminent danger of arrest did not deter him from visiting some provincial towns and then proceeding to Paris. Apparently he inspected its military and naval establishments as well as its palaces.90

Unaware of the cataclysm that was threatening France, provided with a passport for M. De Meroff, a Livonian gentleman who was going to London with a domestic, early on a June morning Miranda left the gay French capital.91 In a letter to Samuel Ogden from the English metropolis, Stephen Sayre said: "Colol. Miranda dined with me, two days since, and the day after his return from Paris. His prejudices are still the same against the French nation and their manners."92 One of Miranda's disjected diarial jottings states that in June of the memorable year 1789 he took lodgings in the house of Mr. Barlow, 47 Jermyn Street, London, at a rent of one hundred guineas a year.93

Extraordinary as was Miranda's trip through the United States for a man of his origin and epoch, his continental trip was even more extraordinary. He was probably the first well-informed native of Spanish or Portuguese America to travel through Europe. Besides beholding many monuments of the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome, he  p89 had strengthened his hold of certain languages and increased his knowledge of the military art. He had "inspected the pages of tyranny in the great book of European nations." Fascinating anecdotes or incidents of courts and camps had been tapestried upon his mind. Further, in addition to a multitude of books and brochures that he had collected respecting Europe, he had kept a diary of his own romantic experiences which not only contained a veritable mine of information concerning conditions on the Continent but also revelations about his secret aspirations. Certain passages of the journal describing his own private life on this trip are unprintable. Neither space nor good taste has permitted more than a hint of certain orgies in which Miranda had indulged.

Largely because of his picturesque and ingratiating personality he had gained the esteem and favor of the Czarina. Reports that had meantime reached him concerning Spanish intrigues against his person must have made him disinclined to yield an iota of his pretensions to the King of Spain. Lists of embittered Jesuits residing in Italy who had been ruthlessly driven from the Spanish Indies he had carefully filed among his memorabilia. To his secret collection of manuscripts he had also added important papers respecting insurrections against Spanish rule that had been suppressed in Peru and New Granada. He had discreetly allowed a few confidants to catch alluring glimpses of his grand design. Even though he had not pleaded the cause of his native land at every court that he visited, yet he had interested prominent personages in the destiny of South America. He had become better equipped for the execution of his master purpose. In a testament which he framed a decade later Miranda avowed that the main object of his remarkable travels had been to seek that form of government which would best insure the establishment of a wise and judicious liberty in the Spanish American colonies.


The Author's Notes:

1 Campo to Floridablanca, undated, A. G. S., estado, 8141.

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2 Inclosures in Campo to Floridablanca, undated, ibid.

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3 Mir. MSS., vol. 7. This letter signed "Pancho" and another addressed to Arrieta dated June 29, 1785 (see infra p62) bearing the same alias are among the small number of letters that have come to hand which evince any interest by Miranda in his relatives in Caracas. Two letters from his brother-in‑law, Marcos de Orea, dated July 17, 1775, and April 15, 1776, are preserved in Mir. MSS., vol. 21.

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4 Campo to Miranda, May 25, 1785, ibid., Floridablanca to Campo, May 26, 1785, A. G. S., estado, 8141.

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5 Robertson, Miranda, p255, note a.

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6 Antepara, South American Emancipation, pp248‑49.

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7 Mir. MSS., vol. 7.

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8 Campo to Floridablanca, undated. A. G. S., estado, 8141.

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9 Miranda to Arrieta, June 29, 1785, Mir. MSS., vol. 7.

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10 Political Herald and Review, I, 29‑30.

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11 "Para Gensoni en Paris," Oct. 10, 1792, Mir. MSS., vol. 45.

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12 Ibid., vol. 7.

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13 Adams MSS., 1784‑1785, f. 174.

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14 Turnbull to Miranda, Aug. 9, 1785, Mir. MSS., vol. 8.

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15 Campo to Floridablanca, Aug. 18, 1785, A. G. S., estado, 8141; Hereida to Campo, Oct. 1, 1785, ibid., 8157.

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16 To J. Penman, Aug. 14, 1785, Mir. MSS., vol. 8.

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17 Smith's Journal, ibid.

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18 Antepara, pp42‑43.

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19 Mir. MSS., vol. 8.

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20 Mir. MSS., vol. 8. Cf. Junius, À Jean Skei Eustace, p8, note.

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21 Smith's Journal, Mir. MSS., vol. 8.

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22 Passport signed by Luis de Onis, ibid.

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23 Ibid.

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24 Smith's Journal, ibid., passport signed by B. Collenbach, ibid.

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25 Ibid.

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26 Miranda to Campo, Oct. 25, 1785, A. G. S., estado, 8157. On Smith's impressions of this trip see further, Roof, Colonel William Smith and Lady, pp117‑25.

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27 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 8. The term Diario is henceforth used in the footnotes of this work to refer to the diary or to diarial jottings that Miranda later intercalated among his manuscripts.

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28 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 8.

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29 Ibid.

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30 Ibid.; Boletín de la academia nacional de la historia, XI, 248.

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31 Mir. MSS., vol. 8; Boletín de la academia nacional de la historia, XI, 254.

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32 "Listas de los Jesuitas Americanos que actualmente residen en Italia expulsos de su Patria, año de 1786," Mir. MSS., vol. 45; Viscardo y Guzmán, Lettre aux Espagnols-Américains, pp15‑19, note. Of the origin of this list Miranda wrote after the title given above: "me dio esta Lista el ex‑Jesuita D. Thomas Belon, extractado de los Libros principales, estando en Roma en dho año."

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33 Diario, Mir. MSS., vols. 8, 9.

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34 Miranda to Floridablanca, July 25, 1789, ibid., vol. 18. In the rough draft a phrase that follows a mention of Miranda's sojourn in Italy runs thus: "Pasé luego por Brindez a Ragusa, al continente de la Antigua Grecia, al Peloponeso, sus Islas, Archipelago, al Egipto, Asia-menor, y hasta Constinopla." See also, Miranda, Diary, p169, note 651; and Rojas, Miranda dans la révolution française, p172.

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35 Mir. MSS., vol. 9.

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36 Miranda to Floridablanca, July 25, 1789, ibid., vol. 18.

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37 Ibid., vol. 9.

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38 Ibid.

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39 Passport signed by D'Herbert Rathkeal, ibid.

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40 Ibid., vol. 10; Antepara, p245.

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41 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 10; Grisanti, pp15‑16. See further, Ségur, Mémoires, souvenirs et anecdotes, II, 17, 18.

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42 Mir. MSS., vol. 10.

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43 Ibid.; Grisanti, p19.

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44 Mir. MSS., vol. 10.

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45 Normandes to Floridablanca, April 5, 1787, A. H. N., estado, legajo 6120.

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46 Mir. MSS., vol. 10.

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47 Ibid.; Grisanti, p21.

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48 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 10; Grisanti, p25.

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49 Ed. Rev., XIII, 287.

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50 Normandes to Floridablanca, June, 1787, A. H. N., estado, 6120.

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51 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 10. An itinerary of Miranda's journey in Russia is found in Grisanti, pp66‑73.

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52 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 10. Though words put into Miranda's mouth concerning the Czarina by Viarz, L'aide de camp ou l'auteur inconnu, p124, may not incorrectly suggest his sentiments, yet South American historians maintain that this romantic sketch is apocryphal. See Posada, Apostillas á la historia colombiana, pp44‑45.

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53 A. G. S., estado, 8156.

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54 Antepara, pp247‑48.

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55 Mir. MSS., vol. 11; Grisanti, pp27‑28.

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56 Mir. MSS., vol. 11.

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57 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 11.

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58 Antepara, p42.

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59 Mir. MSS., vol. 11; Antepara, pp41‑42. Although the secret letter was dated Kieff, April 22, 1787, it was evidently delivered in St. Petersburg on or about August 8, 1787 (old style); see further Grisanti, p90, note.

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60 Parra-Pérez, Miranda et la révolution française, p. xxix.

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61 Miranda to A. H. Sutherland, Aug. 10, 1787 (old style), Mir. MSS., vol. 11; Grisanti, p92.

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62 Diario, Aug. 8, and Aug. 10, 1787 (old style), Mir. MSS., vol. 11.

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63 Grisanti, pp92‑93.

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64 Miranda to Bezborodko, Aug. 18, 1787 (old style), Mir. MSS., vol. 11.

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65 Parra-Pérez, p. xxxiii.

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66 Ségur, II, 17.

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67 Sbornik Imperatorskago Russkago Istoricheskago Obschestva, XXVI, 286.

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68 Dated Sept. 5, 1787, Mir. MSS., vol. 21.

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69 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 12.

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70 Corrae i Aguirre to Floridablanca, Oct. 26, 1787, A. G. S., estado, 6717.

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71 Mir. MSS., vol. 12; Cederstrom to Miranda, Oct. 15, 1787, ibid.

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72 Parra-Pérez, p. xxxix.

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73 Passport signed by Carl Sparre, Mir. MSS., vol. 12.

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74 Passport signed by J. E. Scheel, Nov. 12, 1787, ibid.; Diario, ibid.

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75 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 12; Miranda to Bezborodko, Jan. 26, 1788, ibid.

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76 Feb. 5, 1788, ibid.

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77 Mir. MSS., vol. 12.

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78 Ibid.

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79 Parra-Pérez, p. xliv.

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80 Mir. MSS., vol. 13.

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81 April 11, 1788, ibid.

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82 April 13, 1788, ibid.

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83 Diario, Mir. MSS., vol. 13; Sayre to Miranda, May 15, 1788, ibid., vol. 23.

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84 Ports signed by De Kalitcheff, June 12, 1788, ibid., vol. 14.

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85 Ibid.

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86 Ibid., vol. 15.

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87 Ibid.

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88 Ibid.

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89 Mir. MSS., vols. 15, 16.

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90 Diario, ibid., vol. 16; Antepara, p43.

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91 Passport signed by P. Matorin dated June 3, 1789, Mir. MSS., vol. 17.

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92 June 29, 1789, Knox MSS., vol. 24, f. 70.

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93 Mir. MSS., vol. 19.


Thayer's Notes:

a Although the legend is by now set in stone and in toponymy — the Aventine is sometimes called Monte Sacro because of its association with Bolívar — it was on the Palatine that the South American patriot swore his famous oath, or so it appears conclusive to me. The details are given by Daniel A. Del Río in his book Pages of Glory on Simón Bolívar, The Southamericanº Washington (1973), ch. 22, "The Sacred Hill of Rome", the chapter reproduced here in its entirety:

The renowned Seven Hills of Ancient Rome are: Capitoline, Quirinal, Viminal, Esquiline, Palatine, Aventine and Caelian. The highest is the Viminal at 180 feet, and the lowest the Aventine at 150 feet.

We have begun this chronicle by naming the seven hills because although Bolívar's biographers tell us that he took his oath: ("Never to give rest to his arm nor to his soul until he had removed the yoke of Spanish Rule from his Fatherland") on the "Monte Sacro," there is some question as to which hill is meant.

The only place actually bearing the name "Monte Sacro" is a small hill with an uninspiring view, situated on the northwestern outskirts of Rome, about five miles from the Forum. Because of the distance from the heart of the city, many historians have instead decided upon the Aventine Hill as the probable site of the oath. Although we subscribed to this theory, a recent visit to the various sites in Rome and closer examination of the facts has led us to conclude that the "Monte Sacro" is actually the Palatine.

In describing the event, Simón Rodríguez, Bolívar's tutor, who accompanied him to Rome, mentions that upon reaching the top of the "Sacred Hill," Bolívar's "penetrating gaze swept over the magnificent view before us," and that Bolívar referred in his oath to the greatness of ancient Rome and its Patricians. The scenery from a vantage point on the Palatine is breathtaking. To the north rise the ruins of the Roman Forum, with the many temples, the Senate, the Basilica Julia and the Arch of Septimus Severus. On the Palatine itself can be admired the ruins of the Imperial Temple of Augustus and of the Palace of Emperor Tiberius. Looking to the northwest, you can see the ruins of the Temples of Venus and Rome, the majestic Arch of Constantine and, in the center, the remains of the gigantic Colosseum, completed in 80 A.D., which at that time was considered the grandest structure in the world.

But from the Aventine Hill, located behind the Palatine, the only ruins that can be seen in the distance are the Baths of Caracalla and, toward the outskirts of the city, the beginning of the Via Appia, famous for the miraculous apparition of the Redeemer to Saint Peter, at the gates of Rome, where Saint Peter asked his master: "Domine, quo vadis?"

Confirming this hypothesis, Admiral Hiram Paulding, who visited Bolívar in Perú in June of 1824, writes in his Memoirs (New York, 1910) that the Liberator himself told him during this interview that it was on the Palatine that he had sworn to break the shackles of Spanish oppression.

Another deduction that would seem to confirm this theory is that, when Bolívar and his tutor Rodríguez visited Rome during the spring of 1805, they stopped at a boarding house located on the Piazza di Spagna. The distance from there to the Palatine Hill is slightly over one mile, and en route to the hill are the ruins of the Roman Forum. On the other hand, the distance between the Piazza di Spagna and the Aventine Hill, located behind and beyond the Palatine, is nearly two miles.

However, the name of the hill is not important. Posterity will continue calling it "Monte Sacro" — the name given to it by the Father of Five Republics in a letter to his former tutor written from Pativilca, January 19, 1824. To us it will always be "Monte Sacro." Bolívar's oath, inspired by the magnificent ruins of the Roman Forum, sowed on that "Sacred Hill" a seed of Liberty for all Americans that was to germinate a few years later into the Independence of an entire continent!

[Copyright information: The author states in his Foreword that
"Reproduction of any part of the contents of this book is permitted provided the source is mentioned."]

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b Details are given by Gayarre in his History of Louisiana, II.287‑288. (O'Reilly, whose bravery and ability were not faulted in the disastrous expedition, would become Governor of Spanish Louisiana.)


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